Gancho Slavov



Dr Gancho Slavov’s research is aimed at understanding the processes that shape genetic variation within and among populations. His current work focuses on using genomic/multiomic data to dissect the architectures of complex traits and predict population and individual-tree phenotypes across different environments and silvicultural practices.


  • PhD (Forest Genetics/Statistics), Oregon State University, USA - 2004
  • MSc (Forestry), University of Forestry, Bulgaria - 2000

Research capabilities

  • Population and quantitative genetics
  • Genome-wide association studies and prediction
  • Integrative analysis of multiomic data and inference of causation
  • Ecological genomics and mitigation of climate change

Career highlights

  • Research Leader, Quantitative and Molecular Genetics, Scion, 2019-present
  • IUFRO 2.04.10 (Forest Tree Genomics) Coordination Team Member, 2019-present
  • Group Leader, Statistical Genomics, Rothamsted Research, UK, 2016-2019
  • External Consultant, Center for Bioenergy Innovation, USA, 2018-present
  • Invited Speaker, International Symposium on Integrative Bioinformatics, UK, 2018
  • Invited Speaker, Watbio Bioenergy 2017 Conference, UK, 2017
  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Statistical Genomics, Aberystwyth University, UK, 2011-2016
  • Research Assistant Professor, West Virginia University, USA, 2007-2011

Selected papers

Slavov GT, Davey CL, Bosch M, Robson PRH, Donnison IS, Mackay IJ (2018) Genomic index selection provides a pragmatic framework for setting and refining multi-objective breeding targets in Miscanthus. Annals of Botany, doi: 10.1093/aob/mcy187

Davey CL, Robson P, Hawkins S, Farrar K, Clifton-Brown JC, Donnison IS, Slavov GT (2017) Genetic relationships between spring emergence, canopy phenology and biomass yield increase the accuracy of genomic prediction in Miscanthus. Journal of Experimental Botany, 68: 5093-5102.

Farré M, Narayan J, Slavov GT, et al. (2016) Novel insights into chromosome evolution in birds, archosaurs, and reptiles. Genome Biology and Evolution, 8: 2442–2451.

Muchero W, Guo J, DiFazio S, Chen J, Ranjan P, Slavov GT et al. (2015) High-resolution genetic mapping of allelic variants associated with cell wall chemistry in Populus. BMC Genomics, 16: 24.

Evans LM, Allan GJ, DiFazio SP, Slavov GT et al. (2015) Geographical barriers and climate influence demographic history in narrowleaf cottonwoods. Heredity, 114: 387-396.

Beynon SE, Slavov GT, Farré M, Sunduimijid B, Waddams K, Davies B, Haresign W, Kijas J, MacLeod IM, Newbold CJ, Davies L, Larkin DM (2015) Population structure and history of the Welsh sheep breeds determined by whole genome genotyping. BMC Genetics, 16: 65.

Zhang G, Li C, Li  Q, Li B, Larkin DM, Lee C, Storz JF, Agostinho A, Greenwold MJ, Meredith RW, Ödeen A, Cui J, Zhou Q, Xu L, Pan H, Wang Z, Jin L, Zhang P, Hu H, Yang W, Hu J, Xiao J, Yang Z, Liu Y, Xie Q, Yu H, Lian J, Wen P, Zhang F, Li H, Zeng Y, Xiong Z, Liu S, Zhou L, Huang Z, An N, Wang J, Zheng Q, Xiong Y, Wang G, Wang B, Wang J, Fan Y, da Fonseca RR, Alfaro-Núñez A, Schubert M, Orlando L, Mourier T, Howard J, Ganapathy G, Pfenning A, Whitney O, Rivas MV, Hara E, Smith J, Farré M, Narayan J, Slavov GT et al. (2014) Comparative genomics reveals insights into avian genome evolution and adaptation. Science, 346: 1311-1320.

Evans LM, Slavov GT, Rodgers-Melnick E, Martin J, Ranjan P, Muchero W, Brunner AM, Schackwitz W, Gunter L, Chen JG, Tuskan GA, DiFazio SP (2014) Population genomics reveals signatures of selection coupled with adaptive trait associations in the model tree, Populus trichocarpa. Nature Genetics, 46: 1089-1096.

Slavov GT, Nipper R, Robson P, Farrar K, Allison GG, Bosch M, Clifton-Brown JC, Donnison IS, Jensen E (2014) Genome-wide association studies and prediction of 17 traits related to phenology, biomass and cell wall composition in the energy grass Miscanthus sinensis. New Phytologist, 201: 1227-1239.

Slavov GT, Allison GG, Bosch M (2013) Advances in the genetic dissection of plant cell walls: tools and resources available in Miscanthus. Frontiers in Plant Science 4: 217.

Slavov GT, Robson P, Jensen E, Hodgson E, Farrar K, Allison GG, Hawkins S, Thomas-Jones S, Ma XF, Huang L, Swaller T, Flavell R, Clifton-Brown J, Donnison IS (2013) Contrasting geographic patterns of genetic variation for molecular markers vs phenotypic traits in the energy grass Miscanthus sinensis. Global Change Biology Bioenergy, 5: 562-571.

Geraldes A, DiFazio SP, Slavov GT et al. (2013) A 34K SNP genotyping array for Populus trichocarpa: Design, application to the study of natural populations and transferability to other Populus species. Molecular Ecology Resources, 13: 306-323.

Winton CL, Hegarty MJ, McMahon R, Slavov GT, McEwan NR, Davies-Morel MCG, Morgan CM, Powell W, Nash DM (2013) Genetic diversity and phylogenetic analysis of native mountain ponies of Britain and Ireland reveals a novel rare population. Ecology and Evolution, 3: 934-947.

Slavov GT, DiFazio SP, Martin J, Schackwitz W, Muchero W, Rodgers-Melnick E, Lipphardt MF, Pennacchio CP, Hellsten U, Pennacchio LA, Gunter LE, Ranjan P, Vining K, Pomraning KR, Wilhelm LJ, Pellegrini M, Mockler TC, Freitag M, Geraldes A, El Kassaby YA, Mansfield SD, Cronk QCB, Douglas CJ, Strauss SH, Rokhsar D, Tuskan GA (2012) Genome resequencing reveals multiscale geographic structure and extensive linkage disequilibrium in the forest tree Populus trichocarpa. New Phytologist, 196: 713-725.

Tuskan GA, DiFazio S, Faivre-Rampant P, Gaudet M, Harfouche A, Jorge V, Labbe JL, Ranjan P, Sabatti M, Slavov GT, Street N, Tschaplinski TJ, Yin T (2012) The obscure events contributing to the evolution of an incipient sex chromosome in Populus: a retrospective working hypothesis. Tree Genetics & Genomes, 8: 559-571.

Induri BR, Ellis DR, Slavov GT, Yin T, Zhang X, Muchero W, Tuskan GA, DiFazio SP (2012) Identification of quantitative trait loci and candidate genes for cadmium tolerance in Populus. Tree Physiology, 32: 626-638.

Rodgers-Melnick E, Mane SP, Dharmawardhana P, Slavov GT, Crasta OR, Strauss SH, Brunner AM, DiFazio SP (2012) Contrasting patterns of evolution following whole genome versus tandem duplication events in Populus. Genome Research, 22: 95-105, 2011.

DiFazio SP, Leonardi S, Slavov GT, Garman S, Adams WT, Strauss SH (2012) Gene flow and simulation of transgene dispersal from hybrid poplar plantations. New Phytologist, 193: 903-915.

Robson P, Jensen E, Hodgson E, Farrar K, Slavov GT, Allison G, Hawkins S, Jones S, Valentine J, Clifton-Brown J, Donnison I (2011) Harnessing natural variation in phenotypic and chemotypic traits in Miscanthus for breeding improved bioenergy crops: a review of long term results from perennial energy cropping work at IBERS. Aspects of Applied Biology, 112: 47-56.

Slavov GT, Leonardi S, Adams WT, Strauss SH, DiFazio SP (2010) Population substructure in continuous and fragmented stands of Populus trichocarpa. Heredity, 105: 348-357.

Slavov GT, Leonardi S, Burczyk J, Adams WT, Strauss SH, DiFazio SP (2009) Extensive pollen flow in two ecologically contrasting populations of Populus trichocarpa. Molecular Ecology, 18: 357-373.

Slavov GT, Howe GT, Adams WT (2005) Pollen contamination and mating patterns in a Douglas-fir seed orchard as measured by simple sequence repeat markers. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 35: 1592-1603.

Slavov GT, Howe GT, Birkes DS, Gyaourova AV, Adams WT (2005) Estimating pollen flow using SSR markers and paternity exclusion: accounting for mistyping. Molecular Ecology, 14: 3109-3121.

Slavov GT, Zhelev P (2004) Allozyme variation, differentiation, and inbreeding in populations of Pinus mugo in Bulgaria. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 34: 2611-2617.

Slavov GT, Howe GT, Yakovlev I, Edwards KJ, Krutovskii KV, Tuskan GA, Carlson JE, Strauss SH, Adams WT (2004) Highly variable SSR markers in Douglas-fir: Mendelian inheritance and map locations. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 108: 873-880.